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A tendency to extract spurious, message-like meaning from meaningless noise was assessed as a risk factor leading to shizophrenia-spectrum disorders by assessing word length of speech illusions elicited by multispeaker babble in 43 people with prodromal symptoms. These individuals were randomised to olanzapine v. placebo groups during year 1 followed by no pharmacological treatment for those with no disorder conversion during year 2. A time-dependent Cox regression analysis of conversion to schizophrenia-spectrum disorder revealed a significant interaction between condition (olanzapine v. no drug) and length of speech illusion, with the latter strongly predicting subsequent conversion during medication-free intervals but not during olanzapine treatment.
Declaration of interest
This was an investigator-initiated study supported by Eli Liily & Co. (T.HM). A.B. and M.T. are employed by Eli Lilly SWW R.E.H. T.H.M. and D.O.P. have received support from Eli Lilly previously.
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